J. R. Leger, D. Chen, G. Mowry, Z. Wang, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
Virtually all commercial lasers use spherical or planar mirrors to establish the laser mode. However, resonators with spherical mirrors represent only a very small subset of possible resonator configurations. Recently, the technology of diffractive optics has made it possible to fabricate high-quality mirrors with arbitrary phase reflectance, giving rise to an
entirely new class of laser resonators. These new resonators can have unique and highly desirable properties such as user-designable mode shapes and profiles, high modal discrimination without a correspondingly high fundamental mode loss, and large mode volumes in short cavities.
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